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Conference information

The 2021 Conference was organised
by a local committee at the
University of Exeter.
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About the conference

ECPR Regulatory Governance Standing Group 


Regulatory Governance: Who Carries the Conversation? 


The 8th Biennial ECPR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance taking place virtually from June 23 until June 25, 2021 covers a wide-range of topics around the over-arching theme of who carries the conversation today. Our ECPR Standing Group has identified in its previous conferences regulation as form of governance, the role of the global South in regulatory policy and politics, policy learning ‘in’ and ‘for’ regulation, the evolution of institutional design in the economic crisis and ‘the crisis of regulation’, the challenges to legal drafting and to writing effective law, the contestation of regulation and the implications of enforcement and compliance for our understanding of the effects of rules.

This conference will tackle the present context where some well-established ‘certainties’ around democracy, rule of law, governance, public policy, compliance and accountability are no longer taken for granted. We will debate who carries the regulatory conversation in a context dominated by elected leaders that attack evidence-based policy, do not necessarily support the rule of law, deny the role of science in the design of risk and regulation, and set out to hollow out historical projects of regulatory integration such as the European Union. Thus, one question is who carries the regulatory conversation. But the next one is for what purposes and for what implications for governance. Here we come full circle to the original motivation for the existence of our Standing Group, which exists to think and debate risk, rules and regulations in terms of governance.

Key topics revolve around regulation in the age of populism, Europeanization in reverse gear, and political threats to regulatory architectures. But we do not want to encourage university colleagues and policy-makers to chase the topics as they show up in the news. There is a deeper, historically on-going conversation revolving around the topics of democratic and participatory governance, privacy and intellectual property, the evolution of risk and regulatory paradigms, genderizing regulatory studies, democratizing international regulatory architectures - and the reverberation of these topics in the digital era or artificial intelligence and robotics. The present of context of innovation and pluralism in methods means that we can address these questions with a variety of ontological and methodological perspectives - on this our conference will be totally inclusive.

We are committed to making the conference a venue for engagement with policy-makers, but also engagement with social actors and local, national and cross-national organizations that are often disempowered by the language and practice of regulatory studies. Special sessions will be managed by early career networks of our standing group as well as the ECN of the International Public Policy Association. The conference benefits from the Research Programme Protego, an European Research Council’s advanced project on Procedural Tools for Effective Governance. Protego will contribute with specialist panels and invited speakers. Other sessions will be run in partnership with the International Association for Legislation, Sense about Science and Science for Democracy.

Panels consist of classic academic panels, non-traditional panels, meet-the-author events, round table, and other formats such as ‘encounters with the world of compliance’ where we can look at regulation from the bottom-up.